Solitude And Melancholy 1: God Give Us Men!

by Dele A. Sonubi

God, give us men!

Men who possess opinions and a will;

Men who have honor; men who will not lie;

Men who can stand before a demagogue

And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!

Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog

Josiah Gilbert Holland

When a country such as ours is celebrating 45th years of independence, one will rightly conclude that after many years – 45 years of trial and error, by now Nigeria will favorably be parading amongst the league of nations, men who have honor… but what can one intelligibly say about people like Jerry Gana, the modern day court jester who dances around the corridors of power saying things and gesticulating to be noticed by Obasanjo even in church services or Alex Akinyele, that famous large mouth public errand boy who says things no matter how awkward so that he can remain relevant (like calling Nelson Mandela a gutter man), or Senators Ibrahim Mantu or the former Senate President Adulfus Wabara, who demanded bribe in order to make law, with the others named in the bribery scandal such as John Azuta Mbata, chairman of the former Senate Appropriation Committee, Chris Adighije, former chairman of the Senate Education Committee and Shehu Matazu, head of the education committee in the lower house. The two other senators accused of pocketing bribes were Badamasi Maccido and Emmanuel Okpede. When the Americans speak of executive branch officials or public officials approaching the congress for congressional enquiry, they shake and tremble. No member of the congress even likes to be surprised so the members make adequate research before such enquiry and offer themselves above moral probity so as to reduce any form of intimidation or threat from people because of their subsuming power of enquiry and oversight functions. But with people like Senator Jim Nwobodo, Jubril Aminu, late Chuba Okadigbo, Evan(s) Enwerem, Ibrahim Mantu, Adulfus Wabara and many others who had re-colorized and de-mystified the assembly as a conglomeration of Nigerian’s best people who possess opinion and will for “…this nation, under God shall have a new birth of freedom!” Can anyone facing congressional enquiry in Nigeria after the Ministry of Education bribery scandals, the El-Rufai’s bribery accusations or N5million furniture allowance saga, tremble and shake? God give us men; men who can stand before a demagogue and damn his treacherous flatteries without winking! Are these men, along with their cohorts, people who can stand before the demagogue of El Rufai (and say to him; “stop demolishing people’s houses until we approve it”), Nuruh Rebadu (and say to him; “stop arresting us and other top shots for stealing money until we make our congressional investigations?), Okonjo Iweala (and say to her; “stop publishing budget allocation because it is exposing corruption) or Charles Soludo (and say to him; “stop your financial reforms without the people’s consents), the demagogue of London Metropolitan Police (and wave the immunity card or sovereignty before their pointed noses) or stand before whatever form of demagogue and damn his treacherous flatteries without winking? Can we boast that 45 years after, Nigeria’s leadership class (excluding the late legendary minister of health, Professor Olukoye Ransom Kuti) has produced men who have honor who will not lie? Lie about never telling a lie before in his life (Jerry Ghana), lie about secondary school leaving certificates (Tinubu), lie about monies meant for development ending up in private accounts (Dariye, Alamieyeseigha, Abacha, Babangida Tafa Balogun to mention but few) , about public documents changing faces to disrupt investigations, about INEC conducting a free and fair election for once in Nigerian history do we have men, men in our public lives- tall men sun-crowned who lived above the fog or do we have a Bola Tinubu (in Lagos State), a Joshua Dariye (in Plateau), a D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha (in Bayelsa);Chris Ngige (in Anambra) Tafa Balogun (former Inspector General of Police)? My God! What room do we have left for values in this country when all these men occupy the available spaces?

For Nigeria at 45, we can only echo our prayers: God PLEASE give us men; Men who have honor, men who will not lie and join Josiah Gilbert Holland in singing once more;

God, give us men!

GOD, give us men! A time like this demands

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;

Men who possess opinions and a will;

Men who have honor; men who will not lie;

Men who can stand before a demagogue

And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!

Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog

In public duty, and in private thinking;

For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,

Their large professions and their little deeds,

Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,

Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

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Adewunmi Dedeke January 27, 2006 - 9:11 am

Dear dele,

In a lighter mood, please dont stay too long in this phase of melamcholy or else you may develop ulcer and serious headache. Your wife still need you around for some time more jare.

But with absolute seriousness i agree that we need men of integrity and character those that understand the concept of omoluwabi, we need visionary leaders not mediocres, untutored and uncultured men. The abikos and akogbas those that will rob us and rub salt on our injury.

I pray that our own generation will not be a wasted generation

As put by wole soyinka of his own generation.

Let us pray

Father on you we trust for direction out of this present darkness. Give us men after your own heart. Men that will not bow to the pressure of evil. Men that can not be bought either in cash or in kind. Men that will boldly say- do as i do. Men that are bold and righteous. Men that can own up to their fault. Men who will not turn the paraphnalia of office into an extension of their personal kingdom. Thank you lord as you fulfill this in our time amen.

Cheers dewunmi ddk

abdullahi garba December 21, 2005 - 6:01 am

I think god has already given us men, I mean with people like you in this country sky is Nigeria's limit.the only problem we had in this our blessed country is that is full of dubious and selfish leaders. although we can not blame mr. president alone, because he has been trying his possible best to restructure nigeria and nigerians through his anti-curruption crusade!by setting up EFCC and other coruption related agencies. but what happens with the oath he has taken before coming to the office, I mean the promises he made of bringing food to the table of nigerian populace by providing and creating job opportunities, road construction, electricity, portable water and agricultural machinery.

for those mentioned above and with people like you i can assure Nigerians that we will conqure and overcome the problem of this great country Nigeria, and by airing our view through writers like Mr. Dele Sonubi to the leaders of this country, by so doing we will achive trimendious successes which we might be colling ourselves with: you are the best, I'm the best and that is why we are the best. let us all continue striving for excellence

segun adesina SN 6857 December 12, 2005 - 10:29 am

Interesting Article to say the least, thought provoking too…..I share most of your sentiments, however, I'm not convinced that countries like Virgin have really come to steal Nigeria's inheritance; to paraphrase you…..The services those companies provide, like any in the private sector, respond to the laws of economics, (Supply and Demand). If there were other companies providing equal or better services at a cheaper price I'm sure people would take their business elsewhere.

I have been in the States for a while now so I might be missing an important link. So, I would argue with reservations that companies like Virgin are a welcome development for Nigeria's economy. I doubt that Nigeria Airways was doing such a good job before Virgin Came along.

Hopefully, someday, "DEESHO AIRWAYS" will bring a more competitive service to the market and the Nigerian consumer will be the ultimate winner. However, for now let's welcome the foreign companies… long as they're not arbitrarily spilling oil on our land or crashing planes without recourse. That's another show!

Again, Dele, BRAVO!!!

Niyi Bankole December 7, 2005 - 10:36 am

Dee Sho My Brother,

I read the God Give us Men article and it was quite a read. Bros if dem come carry you, me I no dey o! Anyway sha you wont be the first to be carried. You take am resemble somebody.

Reminds me of the days of Campos (Freedom) Square in Lagos towards the end of Shagari's regime (Before the End….) when Uncle Tai Solarin was warning all who would hear that the country was headed for the rocks but nobody listened. They continued wining and dining.

Do you remember the trips with Uncle Tai Solarin to Freedom Square in those days

Do you remember the day Uncle Tai wept at the Sunday Community gathering It was our first sunday back in school that year, 8 January 1984. He wept for our generation. For the hopelessness of it all. I guess the guy saw it all coming.

We were happy that the military had taken over, at least the man would rest but the man saw more struggle ahead. Exactly one week later he was back in the 'trenches' in Freedom Square. He was arrested by the military, 15 January 1984 (I believe) and I think he ended up in Gusau or Maiduguri Prison that time.

I remember that Sunday afternoon in Mayflower, the whole school was as silent as a graveyard. We had got the news even before the students who went with him to Lagos came back. We were shocked but we felt that "as usual', they would soon release him. It took almost sixteen months, remember

Do you remember Madam's speech at the Community gathering after that It was titled 'WHY' and she emphasised the difference between 'WAI' and 'WHY', the sheer crudity and injustice of it all

We were all rather impressionable young things back then, I guess, but I cannot forget these events even if I try. maybe I would write my own memoirs too like you did in 'The Grandfather's Mandate', t'would make nice reading wouldn't it.

My regards to Nike and let us know when you are in Lagos.


Niyi Bankole 4847

Anonymous December 6, 2005 - 7:30 am

An interesting and thought-provoking (if not sad) article.

God has given Nigeria the men it needs, but God is not going to appear and spare the people of Nigeria from getting their hands dirtied in order to sort out their country.

I wonder why so often there is the repeated failure of leadership in Nigeria to truly serve ordinary Nigerians Is it because those who are of "strong minds, great hearts true faith and ready hands" are afraid to peep above the parapet and do right by its people

Sadly, that appears to be the tragedy of Nigeria after 45 years of independence.

Anonymous December 1, 2005 - 5:45 pm

I think is high time Nigerians stopped asking God to give them men of honour, we are already honoured, we have enough honourable people in Nigeria to be leaders, i think what we should be asking is that the "cabal" would give the honourable men chance to lead.

Kunle Ogun December 1, 2005 - 1:04 pm

What a distinctive write up, keep it up boy. I've never doubted your ability for such articles even at such tender age back in the days of Mayflower School Ikenne.

Ehi Enakimio December 1, 2005 - 8:00 am

God give us Men Brother man wake up. There is a new breeze blowing across Africa now I hope. With women also needing to stake their claim to a long over due position in the main stream of everyday Africa as in Liberia for instance.The first female African Presisdent. That is a big deal. It was the title that got me started and ended my love for you..ok maybe not but please recognize.

Anonymous November 29, 2005 - 3:55 am

Well this is a nice one and keep it up. All the best in your new novel coming up and i pray that God will give you knowledge and understanding.

Anonymous November 28, 2005 - 4:54 am

Very nice and tot provocing. good read also


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